The Good, The Bad and The NXT
By Phillipa Hopwood
Last Updated: 07/12/18 2:10pm
WWE TLC is now right around the corner and the build-up this week saw many more matches added to the card, as many stars picked up the momentum needed to finish the year, while others have begun to squander.
Dolph Ziggler (Raw)
Dolph Ziggler had a fantastic match against Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship last week on Raw and he followed this up by turning babyface this week when he interrupted his former friend Drew McIntyre and hit him with a few home truths. The two stars then collided and despite the hot streak that McIntyre has been on over the past few months, it was Ziggler who picked up the win and ended his undefeated streak.
It is thought that this will now lead to a lengthy feud between the two men moving forward, which means that Ziggler will finally be given the push that he deserves on Monday Night Raw.
Becky Lynch (SmackDown)
Becky Lynch is one of the hottest stars in WWE at present and heading into TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs the SmackDown Women's Champion is seen as the favourite in her triple threat TLC match against Charlotte and Asuka. The three women were part of a contract signing this week on SmackDown that saw Lynch get the upper hand before turning Asuka and Charlotte against each other.
The two women then went on to team together in a tag team match with Lynch watching on from ringside, but they were unable to co-exist as Asuka kicked Charlotte in the head to give Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville the victory. Lynch obviously has a game plan going into this match and it's playing out perfectly.
Tommaso Ciampa (NXT)
The Gold Standard of NXT has been at the top of his game in recent weeks and off the back of an incredible title defence against Velveteen Dream at War Games, the NXT Champion continued to play puppet master. Ciampa impressively managed to set up a Steel Cage match between Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black after The Dark Destroyer tried to cash in his rematch clause for the Championship at NXT Takeover: Phoenix.
The two stars agreed to be part of the match, that will hopefully take place in the coming weeks, and it seems that Ciampa is hoping that Gargano destroys Black and he then picks up the pieces that are left at Takeover.
Natalya was supposed to team with Ronda Rousey this week to take on Tamina Snuka and Nia Jax, but before the match was able to get underway, The Riott Squad approached the ring with a table and attacked Nattie while Jax and Snuka jumped Rousey. Natalya was then written off TV as it was reported that she suffered an elbow injury when she was put through a table by The Riott Squad.
Nattie was later replaced by Ember Moon as the match took place in the main event of Monday Night Raw. Moon is now expected to continue to be part of this feud moving forward since Nattie has now been written out and will probably continue her rivalry with The Riott Squad instead.
AJ Styles (SmackDown Live)
AJ Styles lost his WWE Championship in the build-up to Survivor Series when he was defeated by Daniel Bryan and is now looking forward to his rematch for the title at TLC next weekend. Ahead of the show, Styles faced off with The Miz on SmackDown Live while Bryan was on commentary, but the two men later worked together to beat down Styles.
The former Champion received a Skull Crushing Finale from The Miz for his efforts in the match. This isn't the way Styles would have wanted the build-up for his rematch to go, so he will be hoping to turn his fortunes around and pick up some momentum in the final episode of SmackDown before TLC next week.
Punishment Martinez (NXT)
It was quite the introduction to NXT for Punishment Martinez, who faced Matt Riddle in his TV debut, but for all the hype surrounding the new star, he tapped to the Bromission after a short match. It wasn't all bad news for Martinez, who got in a lot of offense of his own, but the former MMA star was too much for him and now he will be known as the star who tapped on his debut.
Hopefully WWE has some future plans for Martinez against Riddle, or at least some way for him to gain retribution so that he has a storyline moving forward.